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‘Unread Pending Message’ Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, there are unread pending messages waiting in your email account. The notification, which purports to be from your Email Administrator, claims that the waiting messages have been delayed for 48 hours.

It urges you to click to read the waiting messages.

However, the email is a phishing scam and it was not sent by any legitimate email administrator. The claim that you can click to read your delayed messages is untrue.

A screenshot of the scam email:

Delayed Messages Phishing Email

Email account phishing scams like this are very common.  However, this version uses a clever technique that might help to make the ruse seem genuine to less experienced users.
If you do click, you will be taken to your email service provider’s genuine website.  However, a popup window will appear on top of the website that claims that your session has expired. The popup instructs you to enter your account password for your email address:

Email Phishing Scam Login Overlay

If you proceed, your email address and password will be sent to Internet criminals. The criminals will subsequently use the information to hijack your email account and any other services such as app stores or online file storage that may be linked to it.

They can then distribute scam, spam, and malware in your name, steal your personal files, and make fraudulent app store purchases.

Your email service provider will not send you a generic message that instructs you to click a link to read supposedly lost emails or fix an account problem.  Always login to your email account by entering the address into your browser’s address bar or via a trusted app.

Transcript of the scam email:

Subject: Delivery Notification: 5 messages to [email address removed] delayed for 48 hours
Mail Delivery System

Dear [email address removed]

You have (5) new unread pending message.

Click Here to Read (email address removed)

Thank you

Email Administrator.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,